Private India : Book Review

private india review

– 3 *
– A thriller about the race to catch a serial killer strangling women in Mumbai. Fast paced, but a little predictable.

The book

is about a serial killer at work in Mumbai, seemingly killing women at random. Private India, the Indian branch of an international investigative agency, is at work on the case. The team, headed by Santosh Wagh, a broken alcoholic with a tragic past and something of an encyclopedic memory needs to figure out who’s killing the women and why, before the killer strikes again. Even as they work on the case, an enemy makes plans to attack the heart of Private India itself.

My Thoughts, Let Me Show You Them

The plot can be a little predictable, and some of the reasons for the killer choosing the victims were thin. When read in a single sitting, the book’s not so unique plot may hold up well, but when you have time to think about a little, it does ring false.

As for the characters, Santosh Wagh, though an interesting choice as head of Private India, seems too good to be true as an investigator, with his eidetic memory and ability to make deductive leaps with no evidence. In contrast, the other characters aren’t as well defined.

Some of the things that I didn’t like from the book include the passage in Chapter 30 where Hari’s offering of a watermelon to the goddess Durga is equated to human and animal sacrifice. It seemed too much like something written for the sensational angle, especially since hundreds of thousands people make offerings of coconuts and watermelons and fruit and food to Hindu gods and goddesses every day. Taking something so ordinary and every day and equating it to sacrifice (especially when animal sacrifice does still happen in some Hindu temples – the Kali temple in Kolkota being an example) doesn’t seem to serve any purpose other than painting the act of making offerings seem lurid and sensational.

Another thing I didn’t like were the occasional clunky sentences like the one in Chapter 9, ‘The guilt they had both felt at living while their son had died.It had been too much for them. Until finally they’d divorced… (…)’ I could amost hear the ‘STOP’ at the end of every sentence, like I was reading a telegram.

One thing that amused me in the book was the description of the saree as given by the killer. Reading the almost lyrical – and factually incorrect description – sarees do not brush the most intimate of places, not unless the wearer was ‘going commando’ – all I could do was laugh. It was a passage very definitely written by a man – aka someone who’s never worn a saree in their life!

In all though, the book is an alright thriller, although the addition of the sub plot of the attack on Private India didn’t make much sense to me. I felt it was only a distraction from the main serial killer plot. The book would only have been a tauter read without it, I feel.

Why You Should Read This Book

It’s a good read, the main character is interesting, and the serial killer is sufficiently unique. A good ride.

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